The mind is that faculty of the soul that contains thoughts and beliefs along with the relevant abilities to have them. It is with my mind that I think, and my mind contains my beliefs.
Moreland and Craig, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview
Cultivating the mind was absolutely essential, Luther held, because people needed to understand both the word of Scripture and the nature of the world in which the word would take root.
Mark A. Noll, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind
Noll also famously charged “the scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.”
We seem to talk little about the role of the mind in discipleship. Serving? Yes. Caring? Yes. The fruit of the Spirit? Yes. But, the mind? We almost seem to fear the subject, except in the most generic sense.
Americans today—even those of the Christian variety—display little ability to reason. While they do not walk the aisles humming “all you need is love,” the inattention given the life of the mind makes convoluted—even contradictory—thinking a foregone conclusion. Nuance is an art lost to the garbage heap.
What we dwell on in our minds will shape the way we live our lives. What you set your mind on shapes your character and behavior.
With this in mind (pun alert) here are eight biblical reasons to preach to the minds of our congregations.
1. Because we are called to renewed thinking. (Romans 12:2)
Thinking takes place in our minds, thus, the mind is the focus of renewed thinking. British pastor/theologian John Stott says:
Knowledge is indispensable to Christian life and service. If we do not use the mind that God has given us, we condemn ourselves to spiritual superficiality and cut ourselves off from many of the riches of God’s grace.
2. Because we are called to love God with our minds. (Luke 10:27)
If our minds are unimportant, why did God specify we are to love him with them? We cannot love God fully with our minds until we are thinking about him, his ways, his blessings, his power, his grace, and his majesty.
3. Because we are implored to have the mind of Christ.
The mind of Christ is important which means the mind is important. At the very least this means we will love what is beautiful, lovely, holy, of good reputation. We will “think about these things” the way that Jesus does.
4. Because convincing is a mental process.
The philosophers Paul engaged at the Areopagus cared how much Paul knew before they knew how much Paul cared, preaching slogans notwithstanding. When Paul went to the marketplace, he reasoned with people. That is, he engaged their minds. He presented evidence for believing Christ had risen from the dead.
5. Because God’s people are called to be of one mind. (Philippians 2:2)
How can the people in our churches be of one mind if we do not preach to their minds? Our churches are filled with—and often controlled by—emotional reactions. We cannot be in one accord if our minds are not unified by and captive to the Word of God.
6. Because the mind that is set on the Spirit experiences life and peace. (Romans 8:6)
Assurance of God’s wisdom in the midst of confusion and his power in the midst of chaos comes from a mind set of the Spirit. When our meditation is on the one in control rather than our surroundings life and peace result.
7. Because our focus should be on Christ’s position and priorities. (Colossians 3:1, 2)
Paul instructs the Colossian believers to
[S]eek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.
Christ is in the ultimate position of authority, thus his priorities should be ours. When our minds are set on things above, our finances, time management, relationships, and the rest of life will be prioritized by how we think about Christ’s priorities.
8. Because our congregations are being attacked in their minds.
One of the main reasons we lose young adults as they mature is their questions about life, death, evil, justice, and science (to name a few) have not been adequately answered. They are well aware of the do’s and don’ts of scripture, but have rarely been instructed on the challenges to their faith they face every day.
As much as pastors want to think a sermon a week will counter the hours and hours of other influences drowning our people, we know it will not. Unless we are training their minds, much of moral teaching will amount to little more than moralizing where they are concerned. We will be left with a well-behaved but little-learned people.
But that is not how you came to know Christ, assuming you heard about him and were taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus to take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of truth. (Ephesians 4:20-24)